Tavares, Greiss give Weight win in Islanders debut
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By JAKE SEINER
NEW YORK (AP) Getting a new coach this week didn't change things much for the Islanders - and oddly enough, that's a good thing for New York.
John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.
New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight.
"We had guys battle," Weight said. "Top-to-bottom effort led by our captain and goalie."
The new boss made a few adjustments, namely on the power play - though after going 0 for 7, that's still a work in progress.
In the end, New York got this victory in a familiar fashion.
Tavares scored three times in a 5-2 win over Florida last Friday, then appeared to have a hat trick until a video review took away his apparent goal against Carolina on Saturday.
He again scored twice against Dallas, getting a flashy even-strength goal in the first period, and then converting on a short-handed breakaway with 3:06 left in the third. It was the first short-handed goal of Tavares' career.
Moments after the latter goal, he had an empty-net shot just deflected wide.
The Isles captain has seven goals in four games despite the big personnel change in the middle of that run.
"A good response from the guys after a pretty emotional day and a half," Tavares said. "Came out and played some good hockey. A good effort all around."
And then there's Greiss, who stopped 23 shots against Dallas after making 32 saves in a 4-0 win over Boston on Monday. The consecutive shutouts come after Greiss allowed seven goals against Carolina last Saturday.
He called this "an awesome night."
"Our goaltending was a 10 - cool, calm and collected," defenseman Thomas Hickey said. "It rubs off on everybody."
Calvin de Haan added an empty-net goal on a coast-to-coast shot with 4 seconds left.
Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves for Dallas, including breakaway denials on Tavares and Shane Prince. The Stars were coming off a wild 7-6 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, but they left all the offense in Manhattan and dropped to 3-12-4 in games following a victory this season.
"It's disappointing, frustrating," defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. "It was a huge game for us."
Tavares got his 17th goal with 6:29 left in the first period. After taking a pass from Anders Lee, the All-Star slid the puck behind John Klingberg while cutting in front of the Dallas defenseman, met the puck on the other side of Klingberg and smacked it past Lehtonen for a 1-0 lead.
Tavares picked up his short-handed score on a low wrist shot. Dallas entered trailing Philadelphia by one for the league lead in short-handed goals allowed.
Weight was an assistant GM and coach with New York before his promotion this week. The Islanders entered Thursday in last place and eight points shy of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, though they have games in hand on nearly the entire league.
Weight said Wednesday that he doesn't plan to "reinvent the wheel" as interim coach, but said New York was "going to tweak some things in certain systems."
The power play is one obvious area that needs improvement - New York entered Thursday ranked 28th in the league. Weight certainly got creative, even keeping Tavares off the ice for man-up stretches later in the game.
Lehtonen's breakaway saves kept it close. He denied Tavares on a rising wrist shot in the first period, then stopped Prince's sweeping deke with a sliding leg save.
NOTES: Islanders D Johnny Boychuk sat out because of an upper-body injury. The team said he is day-to-day. ... Isles Fs Andrew Ladd (upper-body injury) and Cal Clutterbuck (lower-body injury) each missed their second straight games. Both are day-to-day. ... Dallas Ds Johnny Oduya and Jamie Oleksiak were scratched with injuries. Oduya aggravated an ankle injury against the Rangers and will be out two to four games, and Oleksiak is dealing with an upper-body issue. ... UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was at the game with her title belt. Nunes knocked out MMA superstar Ronda Rousey for the championship on Dec. 30.
Stars: Return to Texas for a six-game homestand beginning with a game Saturday night against Washington.
Islanders: Continue their six-game homestand when the Kings play here Saturday night.
Updated January 20, 2017